At the end of February I went on my first yarn retreat. While I was there I took two classes, one with Karie Westermann and another with Julia Billings.
Karie's class was called Lace Knitting, the first thing Karie did was to introduce herself and we went round the group (there were about 10 people) saying what we each expected to get out of the class. I wasn't sure what I was expecting to learn (when I signed up all I knew was that I wanted to take a class with Karie!) as I can already knit basic lace, and read lace charts, I just haven't wanted to knit large amounts of lace before.
Karie started the class off with some basics, encouraging us to try different decreases (k2tog, ssk, etc. next to yarnovers) to see the effect on the hole while she introduced the class and chatted about lace knitting not being about the holes, but being about the decreases. Karie also talked about how in a lace chart each box represents not a stitch but an action, and about how the decreases must be balanced with the corrected number of increases created through the yarnovers.
Having chatted about classes, Karie let us design or own basic lace chart, balancing the increases and the decreases, then we each knitted what we had drawn. I knitted mine and it came out exactly as I expected: rather geometric. Someone else in the class then said that they had tried moving their decreases and the holes had moved. I thought I'd try the same and moved all my decreases to the centre of the pattern, leading to stacked decreases and the pattern totally changed! This was a total revelation to me. My new design uses the same yarnovers, but the final knitted piece is completely different!
I was completely exhausted from mental effort by the end of the (three hour long) class, but I learnt a huge amount about the structure of lace knitting, and am a little in love with the tree-like images in the second half of my swatch. Maybe I will give lace knitting another go.